Law enforcement, cab companies gear up for New Year’s

While people are preparing to ring in the new year with drinks and parties, law enforcement is asking the public to practice safe driving during the holiday.

In Shenandoah County, the Sheriff’s Office will have additional units on the road through a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, said Capt. Wes Dellinger with the Sheriff’s Office. There will be additional patrols to look for impaired drivers throughout the weekend, but there are no checkpoints planned at this time, Dellinger added. He also recommended that people avoid getting behind the wheel at all if they’ve had any alcohol.

“Alcohol affects everyone differently, so even though you may be under the legal limit, you could still be operating that motor vehicle impaired,” Dellinger said, adding that he recommends having a designated driver for any events people plan to consume alcohol at.

As of Dec. 23, Virginia State Police posted on their Facebook page that the agency has arrested and charged 91 people with drunken driving.

Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland said his office has DUI patrols on a regular basis, and that there may be license compliance and DUI checkpoints over the weekend. He added that if anyone has to question if they’ve had too much to drink, they need to have a designated driver to take them home because drunken driving could cost a life.

“We want everybody to have a safe and happy holiday, and bring in 2018 with a smile, a drink in their hand, whatever they want to do, just do not drive,” Millholland said, “That can ruin it for you and your family.”

Front Royal Police Chief Kahle Magalis said that there are no plans for extra law enforcement or DUI checkpoints in the town during the holiday weekend, but the officers on duty over the weekend will be extra vigilant in their traffic enforcement duties because of the celebrations. He added that they ask that all drivers be “extra cautious” when traveling this weekend and to celebrate responsibly with designated drivers.

“People historically underestimate the amount of alcohol they’ve had and probably overestimate their abilities to operate [a vehicle] when they’ve had anything,” Magalis said, adding that he suggests people be overly cautious in determining their ability to drive.

In addition to a designated driver, calling a local taxi company for a ride is a safe traveling alternative to driving under the influence. Michelle Foster, the general manager of the Yellow Cab of the Shenandoah, said that there will be extra staff available the entire weekend to handle the additional call this weekend.

“People tend to get very impatient when they’re drinking, so we have extra staff here so we can get to them faster,” Foster said. “We don’t want anybody out there drinking and driving.”